Oh sure, sometimes they love to hate us, but one thing is clear: NewsBusters is must reading for MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

As I noted here, Scarborough and panelist Willie Geist blasted Media Matters on today's "Morning Joe" for using a "phony story" to go after Rush for his "phony soldiers" comment. Joe and Willie recognized the truth of the matter: that Rush had been speaking of one phony soldier indeed, Jesse Macbeth, and not of anti-war soldiers in general.

Later, at 8:03 A.M. EDT, in the context of the Media Matters-inspired attack on Rush, Joe and Mika made clear that they have NewsBusters on the noggin.

Video (0:52): Real (1.41 MB) and Windows (1.60 MB), plus MP3 audio (404 kB).

As Brent Baker of MRC/NB has documented, MSNBC has been among the worst MSM offenders in propagating the falsehood that Rush Limbaugh had accused all anti-war military members of being "phony soldiers."

A point of light at that same network this morning, however, as Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist combined to debunk the Media Matters allegation, accusing the organization of using a "phony story about a phony soldier" to go after Rush.

It began at 6:04 A.M. EDT today, during the "Morning Joe" opening coffee klatsch.

View video here.

Joe Scarborough is still trying to wring mileage out of bashing Bill O'Reilly over his Sylvia's comments. After calling the "Factor" host a "moron" yesterday, the "Morning Joe" host was back at it today.

This could be a first: Al Sharpton criticized for being insufficiently inflammatory; faulted for not shooting from the hip.

At the opening of today's "Morning Joe," host Joe Scarborough panned the Rev's "O'Reilly Factor" performance last evening, in which the normally obstreperous one was relatively subdued on the subject of his host's comments on Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem. Scarborough later escalated his criticism, calling O'Reilly a "moron," and accusing him of making "racist" comments.

View video here.

Figures. Who else would Mika Brzezinski's ink-stained doppelganger be but Maureen Dowd?

"Morning Joe" has apparently introduced a new feature, "Three Things to Read Today," in which each of the panelists recommends an item from that morning's newspaper crop. Willie Geist went first today, and being the pop-culture maven he is, suggested the New York Post's coverage of the sexual harrassment lawsuit that a former female New York Knicks employee has brought against coach Isiah Thomas.

Then it was Mika's turn.

View video here.

Less than a half-hour after Kiran Chetry and Roland Martin speculated whether O’Reilly’s recent comments on race would be the next "Imus Moment," the cast of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe" mocked the Fox News host. Co-host Mika Brzezinski put on her best Meryl Streep imitation after a clip of O’Reilly’s comments were played. "Oh, my God.... Wow... That's attractive," and also made an audible Al Gore-style sigh. Guest host Willie Geist went further. "Also, using the term 'blacks.’ I don't think anybody's said that since like 1973." Come again?

Brzezinski, Geist, and host Joe Scarborough discussed O’Reilly at the top of the 8 am Eastern hour on Tuesday’s "Morning Joe." While the cast played the O’Reilly clip for the first time, a caption spun O’Reilly’s words: "O’Reilly Shocked That Harlem Restaurant is ‘Normal’ (see above picture). The three were so "overwhelmed" by the clip that they played it again.

"I'm a Dan Man myself, so I tend to look at this from his viewpoints [sic]." -- WaPo media critic Tom Shales, on today's "Morning Joe."

It's a morning for candor on "Morning Joe." Earlier, Mika "Bubbles" Brzezinski had admitted that "the SATs were not my strong suit." Later in the show, the notoriously tough-on-conservatives [see, e.g., MRC item #3 here] Tom Shales acknowledged that he has a soft spot for Dan Rather, calling himself a "Dan Man."

I'll say. Despite the overwhelming mountain of uncontroverted and incontrovertible evidence, Shales refuses to admit the obvious: that the documents at the heart of Memogate were the most transparent [literally] and amateurish of forgeries.

Substitute anchor Willie Geist interviewed Shales at 8:30 A.M. EDT this morning.

View video here.

Regular readers of this space know that MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski is one of our favorites, serving up heaps of grist for our mill with her regular injections of liberal opinion into her newsreading on "Morning Joe," as here.

We'd been searching for an apt nickname for Brzezinski, and as of this morning, Mika herself has supplied one. Meet "Bubbles" Brzezinski. Mika was reading headlines from the morning's crop of newspapers, when she came across an item from the Boston Globe.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Boston Globe: "Many colleges ignore SAT writing test." I find this very interesting because SATs were not my strong suit. I probably would never have been allowed to go to college if it was based on just my SAT scores. But apparently hundreds of universities, including several top schools, are ignoring or paying little heed to students' scores on the writing section of the SAT in admissions. I never had a writing section, just bubbles.
View video here.

Just when you thought the MSM couldn't sink any lower . . .

Could there possibly be an American who doesn't admire the Reverend Billy Graham? Apparently, yes. Have a look at the cover of this week's 'Time.' Of all the ways the editors might have positioned the logo, they managed to do so in a manner in which the 'M' in 'TIME' is transformed into horns protuding from the good reverend's head.

Tucker Carlson and Willie Geist took up the matter on Tucker's MSNBC show this afternoon.

View video here.

Forget Nurse Ratched. Pat Buchanan and Willie Geist have birthed a new metaphor for Hillary Clinton: the mean schoolmarm.

Willie Geist's genius as an observer of the political and pop-cultural scenes has been his ability to stay largely above the fray. But guest-hosting for Joe Scarborough on today's "Morning Joe," Geist let the curtain down enough to make clear his pessimism about the Iraq war and desire to have the US exit post-haste. At the same time, retired General Barry McCaffrey made no effort to hide his contempt for Barack Obama's foray into foreign policy regarding Pakistan.

Geist interviewed MSNBC commentator McCaffrey at 6:30 A.M. EDT this morning. McCaffrey at one point opined that he could envision the possibility of reconciliation between Iraqi Shias and Sunnis. Geist was not so sanguine.
MSNBC'S WILLIE GEIST: Could we possibly stay there long enough, though, to see a reconciliation between Sunni and Shia? We're talking years, possibly generations for that to change, aren't we?
Later, looking ahead to tonight's Dem debate, Geist's focus was on which candidate could extricate us from Iraq fastest.
GEIST: Which [candidate] gives you the best sense that they will help us end this war, get us out of there?

View video here

Mika Brzezinski is so outraged that people are discussing Hillary's cleavage . . . that she hopes it helps the Dem prez candidate.

The topic arose at 6:18 A.M. EDT on today's "Morning Joe." The affable Willie Geist, a frequent panelist, is serving this morning as guest host for the absent Joe Scarborough. He broached the subject.
MORNING JOE GUEST HOST WILLIE GEIST: One of the other big stories that everybody is talking about is this Hillary Clinton cleavage thing.

MORNING JOE NEWSREADER MIKA BRZEZINSKI [in an exasperated tone]: Oh my gosh.
GEIST: . . . There's a shot of it right now; that's not so bad, I've seen much worse.

BRZEZINSKI: Are you kidding me? That's a great outfit. But what annoys me is that people wrote about it and talked about it. And if has helped her in any way I guess it doesn't bother me because that was ridiculous.